Sunday, May 21, 2023

Logic and lack of Logic of Anti Vaxers

I wrote the  post below the dotted line a long time ago but never got around to posting it. Now that 

                                        WHO says COVID emergency is over.

(When I first saw I misread it as a question: 

                                        Who says COVID emergency is over? 

I decided to post it (with one update that has an ADDED LATER on it). 

If you didn't know , WHO is World Health Organization. Actually, that is true whether or not you know it.


Some of the reasons anti-vaxers give are better than others. Some are consistent, some are not. 

We list some of them and invite the comments to list more. Our point is- which ones have something interesting to say? 

I am PRO VAX but I often seek out intelligent opposing views on any of my opinions. Did I find any here? I leave that as an exercise for the reader. 

Reasons anti-vaxxers give or could give. 

a) FREEDOM! That's not quite a reason. I am reminded of asking a neighbor why he flies a confederate flag and he said


I was hoping he would say either

To honor my great grandfather who died for the south in the civil war.


Because I don't like black people.


To honor those many people, black and white, who died in the civil war fighting for the south. 


SOMETHING with content to it. 

Any of those answered would tell me something could be discussed. Just the word FREEDOM does not. 

b) Bill Gates put microchips in the vaccine so he can keep track of where you are. Why? Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg can ALREADY keep track of where you are. I do wonder if this is a common anti-vax viewpoint or if its VERY RARE and the media plays it up to make anti-vaxers look stupid. Same with the notion that the vaccine makes you magnetic (that sounds cool!)

c) I want to wait and see its effects since it was rushed out. That might have made sense  X months ago, but by now its very well established.

d) I haven't gotten around to it yet. These are a very good target for the mandates or at least to be talked into doing it. It may be more fun to talk about the radical anti-vaxers; however, if the haven't gotten around to it group all got vaccinated we would be closer to herd immunity.

e) I've got COVID so I am immune. This is true for Y months (I am not sure what Y is); however, the person I know who told me this had COVID about 3 years ago.  But at least its an attempt at an argument. 

f) The medical community has been bad to (i) me, (ii) my people, (iii) some other people that I care about hence I do not trust them. The premise is actually true, so this is an attempt at an intelligent argument. 

g) Big Pharma is making a mint on this and ripping us off. This is a view of, not the extreme left but the fringe left. Robert Kennedy is a big voice here, see here. On a right-wing relatives' urging I listened to an hour-long interview with him. Mostly a rambling incoherent argument. Much of it was anti-business which got no pushback from the usually-pro-business republican's. Are there any mainstream democrats who are anti-vax? I do not think so. Also, is it true that Big Pharma is is making a mint? Ripping us off? Ripping someone off? This could be an interesting question if asked more coherently. But its not a good reason to be anti-vax. 

h) Trump said it was a hoax to get him out of office. Taking a vaccine now would be to admit its not a hoax. Such people should take Karl Popper's view of science: Conjecture that, as Ted Cruz said, if Biden wins then COVID will go away since it was a hoax made up to get Biden to win. If Biden wins and COVID does not go away then you must reject your conjecture. (ADDED LATER: Odd point- Trump has sometimes said, though not lately, that people should get the Vax that HE invented. If we called it a Trumpzine then would people take it? As of now Trump and DeathSantos are trying to anti-vax each other.) 

i) The first few days after you take it it hurts and you feel tired or get chills or other reactions. This is actually true, though one has to balance that against getting COVID.

j) The Ford Administration really messed up on the Swine Flu so why trust the government now? This is true- The Ford Admin DID mess up. Oddly enough, I have never (or perhaps rarely) heard this as a reason. This puzzles me- Why claim Bill Gates microchip stuff (which is absurd) or Vax causes autism (debunked)  and  NOT use arguments are are more reasonable?

k) Vaccines cause autism. That study was debunked a long time ago, but it still lives on.

l) Kamala Harris said she was hesitant since it was rushed.  I've only heard this one as Republicans  try to blame her for Vaccine Hesitancy. The problem with that argument is that you are claiming that the anti-vaxers, who are mostly republicans, are listening to Kamala Harris for advice.

l) If many people get Vaxed and COVID goes away then Biden will look good, and we can't have that.

m) COVID was invented by the Chinese to cripple us. Uh- even if true (which it is not, though the leaked lab hypothesis might be) that's a reason to TAKE it to thwart their plans. For that matter, Trump could have been Trumpian and PRO-MASK and  PRO-VAX by blaming the Chinese and George Soros and the Deep State and Biden and Obama and of course Hillary,  but using this to say WEAR THE MASK! TAKE THE VAX! to DEFEAT these ENEMIES who want to destroy America. Would that have worked to slow the spread of COVID? If so then would he have won re-election? 


  1. > g) Big Pharma is making a mint on this and ripping us off.

    This is true, but I don't see why this is an arugment for not getting vaccinated. For more on the economics, see

  2. Tiny one: affects -> effects in (c).

  3. “The Ford Administration really messed up on the Swine Flu so why trust the government now?”

    It’s my understanding that the Ford administration’s response to swine flu was flawed, but in terms of its estimates of the outbreak, not in terms of the vaccine itself. There was an increased likelihood of something going wrong in the vaccinated, but I don’t know if that’s because the vaccine was bad, or that was the cost of doing business the way it was done at the time.

  4. Antivax is not a logical but often psychological and reflects the distrust in institutions.
    I took two Pfizer shots. But I skipped the Chinese vax earlier when I was in China, not because I know if it works, but because I distrust the goverment fundamentally. I can see how some Americans hold similar opinions about their government.
    BTW, not just right wingers are more likely to antivaxxers, black people are too, and distrust is one of the factors.

    1. Why would anyone trust or listen to a government are you so naive to think they care about you ?wake up your government don't give 2 f***s about you do you think your special? Has Canada looked into who their health ministers even is ?

  5. First, it is problematic to use the term “anti-vaxxers” for all those who express questions about or don’t want to take, one of the covid vaccines. For many of these people have been “pro-vaxxers” until now so we should ask: what’s changed?

    c) Wait to see – drugs taken 10years+ to get to market. Long term safety data is 2 or 3 years or more. These all went from zero to in the arm within 10 months or so. I don’t care how much more efficient this work was than normal, its impossible that the amount of data is available even now. You cannot get 3 years’ of data in a few months!

    e) I’ve had COVID so I’m immune – I haven’t heard a convincing argument as to why natural immunity differs for this virus from all the others. Of course natural immunity is not perfect (see: influenza) but we know that the recent covid vaccines have been based on older variants so it is unclear how they help more than having had the illness.

    i) Both anecdote and data suggests that many people get quite severe – in some cases fatal – reactions to the vaccine. Of course some people get severe and indeed fatal reactions to the disease but many who have taken the vaccine are in very low risk groups. The question is: if you are young and healthy and have a 1 in 10,000 risk of dying from a disease why would you add some unknown amount of risk from a vaccine?

    j) is really (c) .

  6. First off, I THANK you for engaging with the issue intelligently, unlike most of what I see.
    c) Good point- we do not know the long term effects. The problem with vaccines is that you take the not just for yourself but for others. So if someone does not take the vaccine but gets tested regularly and wears a mask (such people are RARE) then that seems fine.

    e) COVID does give immunity but it wears off after Y months. I do not know what Y is. So if you had COVID then YES, you do not need to get vaccinated soon, but you do need to get vaccinated later. OR do what is in prior point.

    i) I had not heard much about this which means either the left wing media is hiding it from me or the right wing media is fooling you. BUT lets say you are right (I am NOT being sarcastic- you really could be right). You may still get a mild case of COVID and pass it on to someone who is more likely to get very sick. So don't take the vaccine but get tested and wear a mask would be good.

    This points to the following paradox: Those that are NOT taking the vaccine are NOT like yourself, thoughtful and aware that COVID is real, and willing to wear a mask and social distance. NO. There is a high correlation between people who won't take the vaccine AND people who don't take any other precautions. And that's really bad for them and for society.

  7. To add confusion, there is actually more than one vaccine and more than one COVID. The following arguments can occur for example:

    1. The vaccine is effective against the alpha strain, and not effective against the common omicron strain (this is true for some vaccines, so it is good to ask about the vaccine that is offered to you).

    2. The original alpha strain was indeed dangerous, but the omicron strain is not dangerous enough to justify the risk of side-effects from the vaccine itself (again depends on the specific vaccine, but also on whether you belong to a population for which omicron is also a risk).

    1. AH- and to add even more confusion, the post was written when the COVID was more dangerous. So your argument is valid NOW but not THEN. Even so, a counter-argument is that, even NOW, the more we don't have herd immunity, the more likely some other strain, perhaps dangerous, will arise.

      You (and the other commenter who gave good reasons to not get vaccinated) are offering intelligent arguments, and I assume you both Test/Mask/Social Distance (or at least did- I confess that I no longer Mask except when I go shopping or to a doctor's office). There are others who might even give your arguments but NOT in good faith, who really think its a hoax.

  8. Intelligent commenter4:22 PM, May 21, 2023

    For the record, Trump has been very pro-vax. Who do you think intialized Operation Warp Speed?

    On the other hand, I am sure the decision that Pfizer did not seek an emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine until after the 2020 election, despite the pressure from the Trump admin, is totally not politically motivated, now that Pfizer CEO said so. Still, it is kind of revisionist to say that Trump wasn't pro-vac, don't ya think, Prof. Gasarch? Reading the following news made me think Trump was even more pro-vac than the Pfizer CEO.

    "Pfizer won’t seek coronavirus vaccine authorization until after election"
    "Pfizer trying to defuse critics amid push for vaccine before Election Day"
    "Pfizer CEO: We didn't delay vaccine results until after election"

  9. Intelligent commenter4:47 PM, May 21, 2023

    For those with a good memory, this was what happened regarding vaccine approval:

    But now I'm told Trump was not pro-vax enough. Wow. Liberal media does have the power of reinventing history.

    1. Here is what I think happened.
      1) COVID hit
      2) Trump started Operation Warp Speed to get a vaccine out fast. GOOD
      3) Trump urged people to take it. Here is a you tube video of him saying so loudly and clearly (he also adds that you are free NOT to take it and he is not for mandates, but that is really a very MINOR part of what he is saying)
      4) He repeats this message and get booed (Aug 22, 2021) by his own followers:
      5) At a rally soon after that he does not mention vaccines:
      6) So he was at one time pro VAX and then he went silent on the issue. This is to bad since his followers are the vast majority of people who haven't taken it.
      7) The true test: When he runs against DeathSantos in the primaries will he bring up that DeathSantos had a BAN on cruise ships that wanted to have vaccine passports. (DeSantos also was originally pro-VAX and even pro-Mask but those days seem long gone.) More generally, will he run as a pro-vax or anti-vax candidate?

  10. The points in your original post are really strawman arguments. I want to reiterate some points other commenters have made, and also respond to some of your counterarguments.

    I am a healthy young adult; my risk of serious harm from COVID is low. Why would I rush to get a relatively untested vaccine that has a (small) risk of severe side effects? (There was an article in the WSJ about a group of several thousand people who experienced side effects:

    Your response: is the left-wing media hiding these side effects?
    My response: to some extent, yes. Read the WSJ article linked above for examples of how (1) government agencies refuse to address the issue, and (2) people who post about their own side effects have their posts banned from social media as "disinformation."

    Your response: Fine, but then you should mask/test/social distance.
    My response: (1) not any more than anyone else. (The vaccine may prevent people from getting sick, but it does not prevent transmission.) (2) masking has been shown to be largely ineffective in practice due to a variety of factors (especially the lackadaisical way most people wear masks). And yes, you should social distance as much as you would with a cold.

    1. strawman arguments? I listed arguments I heard and ASKED for other ones. That's not quite Strawman arguments, though I see how it comes across as such. I should have said more explicitly: These arguments are terrible, PLEASE give me better ones.

      Anyway, THANKS for yours (and others) intelligent arguments.

  11. Not yet mentioned is long covid. This seems to be a rather good argument for non-senior folks to get vaccinated, since the risk of long covid is significantly higher than dying and youth seems to provide much less protection therefrom. And it seems the risk of long covid increases each time you catch covid, so you really don't want to catch covid more than once.

    Also, the last I checked, covid was the leading communicable disease cause of death in children in the US. It's high enough, that if you are a parent, you want your kids vaccinated.

    Another thing is while everyone agrees covid is somewhat more obnoxious than flu, many people think it's not enough worse than the flu to worry about. But you don't want to get the flu. I was sick as a dog for 10 days (you really don't want to know the details) spring 2019. I complained to my GP/PCP who said: it's probably something a tourist brought and thus your flu shot didn't cover. (Japan, having forgotten how to actually make things, has been pushing tourism as an economic savior for the last decade or so, and the temples are more like zoos and theme parks than temples.)

    Also, in general, you really don't want to get sick at all, with anything. Some twats did an experiment on (presumably paid) volunteer college students: spend 14 days in bed and we'll figure out how long it takes to recover. The result of the experiment was that it was impossible to recover to full pre-experiment levels. The students were permanenetly harmed by the experiment.

    FWIW, my GP/PCP says that the bivalent vax is also effective against at least the first few of the post-Omicron variants.

  12. Bill, you entered a response on 9:40 PM, May 21, 2023 but forgot to allow the comment you were responding to

  13. Darn- you are correct. Not sure how that happened since when I put in the comment the comment I was referring to was there. Will look into this. Thank you.

    1. We found the problem and fixed it, so the original comment is either restored (thats what I think) or was never there in the first place (Odd if true since I really thought that when I did my reply it was there.) It may have been accidentally deleted AFTER I put my comment in, though I didn't know we could do that even on purpose.

      Anyway, THANKS!

  14. Bill asked for "intelligent" reasons.

  15. bill is also happy to have someone give a reason that he had forgot to put on his list.

  16. I think there are some people who are not "anti-vaxer" but cruising the current prices for vaccine approvals.

    I found J.F. Kennedy Jr. response on MSNBC rather logical, and the other side actually the one acting outside logic and based on here mentally and appeal to authority.